December 15, 2008

Doctor Helen Won't Let Her Students Turn In To A Bunch Of Little Marxists

Helen Smith, from back in good ol' Knoxville, gets it exactly right in giving advice to a teacher:
...what a teacher chooses to teach can have a hand in how that student thinks about the world. That said, Scott, in my opinion, it is not your job to decide the politics of the students in your class, it is your job to expose them to the critical thinking skills that will help them make informed decisions and back them up in a reasoned way.
Why is this such a revelation to so many teachers? I continue to fear that the reason is that so many of them lack critical thinking skills themselves. Sadly, this is a datum that defies quantification so my theory really cannot be proven or disproven except by inference from other data.

1 comment:

Michael Reynolds said...

I'm involved in this issue from a somewhat different position, as a writer for kids.

Both my wife and I have written books with a lot of political subtext. And obviously I have my own opinions. But I always try to give all sides of a particular issue. I don't pretend that I always succeed or that a careful reader can't figure out where I stand, but my intention is always to present the issue in such a way that the reader has to do his/her own thinking.

It's not just a question of playing fair, and showing a decent humility, it makes the writing more interesting. I turn away from writers who I feel are propagandizing me, editorializing in their fiction. They turn into bores. A fiction writer should be an entertainer not a political operative.